grant allotment for the SHS library was $60,000.
“The big push is going to be moving into a 21st Century media center,” said Reading 2 Succeed teacher librarian coach Brandi Burton. “One of the biggest roles in one of those centers is collaboration. If you'll see all of the furniture arrangements that they purchased will foster collaboration really well. That was a moving factor behind that.”
The furniture arrived during the last week of the school year, and much of it is set up in circles, or other groupings to foster collaboration. SHS students were also given a say in what furniture was purchased for the library.
“We did a survey, and on the survey they mentioned that they would like to see the furniture updated,” said SHS librarian Camelia Robinson. “Once we got the ball rolling looking at different vendors, they helped pick out some of the chairs, and what they thought would look nice.”
Technology resources available to teachers and students include iPads and Swivls, which allow teachers to record their lectures and interact with students on them. An Apple TV was also purchased for the library.
“Now that we've got pretty much the books and technology that we need, starting this next school year, we're going to refer to every library as a media center, and we're going to hopefully start doing more furniture purchases and just different ideas that will allow us to increase collaboration throughout each facility,” Burton said.
Burton said the media center should ideally serve as the school's hub, with numerous resources for both teachers and students. She also emphasized the speed at which libraries were evolving.
“It used to be, you would just come in, check out your weekly book, and that was it, so now we are offering things such as the iPads, the Apple TV, Swivls, all of these different technology rich resources so that the teachers that will come in, as well and make the most of all of these things,” Burton said.
Rising senior Katherine Dumas said she hoped more students would start using the library with the recent upgrades.
“I've checked out books a couple of times for a book report or something, but most of the time, I was sitting at the tables working on projects or things we had to use computers for,” Dumas said. “I think most of the traffic that comes through here is working at the tables or places like that, so it's kind of cool to see the new furniture, because I think that's what we use most in here.”
Dumas also said she expected the Java Jacket Café to be popular based off how many students she saw using vending machines.
“There are so many people that you'll see walk into the school in the morning with coffee in their hands,” Dumas said. “I think a lot of people will use it.”
Burton said across the district, the changes would begin in the upcoming school year, and would be gradual at first. Some of the libraries will also introduce resources for teaching coding and pushing digital literacy in addition to reading literacy.
“This is just going to give them even more of an opportunity to have people come in,” Burton said. “It will increase the foot traffic, not only with the new furniture setup, but with the coffee shop. Somebody who might not be a normal visitor to the library, might start coming in and they may see something that interests them and find a book and ignite a love for reading.”